Rx Optical Blog Image Indoor UV 03.04.20

Protect Your Eyes from Indoor UV

If you’ve read any of our blogs, you’ve probably noticed that we love to tell you to wear sunglasses. Why? Well, because they’re good for your eyes.

Still, a lot of people think you only need sunglasses in the summer. And even more people think you only need them when you’re outside. That’s why we’re jumping into the wonderful world of indoor UV. Buckle up. This’ll be a ride.

UV Indoors

UVA radiation comes from the sun. These rays are invisible, and they’ve been tied to a lot of negative effects on the human body, like cancers and vision damage. That’s why it’s important to protect yourself from them all year round.

However, a lot of UVA rays can still pass through windows. Have you ever gotten a sunburn during a long car ride? That’s why! The rays pass through the glass and hit your skin, even when you’re not outside. Ouch!

Protect Your Vision Inside

So how do you make sure your eyes don’t get damaged? It’s hard to get rid of all of the UVA rays in your life. In fact, even fluorescent bulbs emit it! But you can cut back on the amount that reaches you.

Try hanging up curtains over large windows and making sure that you aren’t sitting in or staring into direct sunlight. If you have to sit in a sunny space, toss on a pair of shades, just like you would if you were outside. If you have to squint to see, it means your eye is straining and your sunglasses could provide some much-needed relief.

Keep in mind that polycarbonate and Trivex lenses offer 100% protection from UV light. We recommend these lens materials to most of our patients. This means that just by wearing your glasses, your eyes could already be protected indoors!

Protect Your Vision in Cars

When you’re on the road, it’s important to keep your eyes focused. We’ve all had a moment when we’ve squinted at oncoming traffic because of the sun. It’s not a fun experience!

Make sure to keep a pair of sunglasses in your car for whenever you’re driving, even in the winter. Although we are all used to the doom and gloom of Michigan winters, the glare from the white snow when the sun does come out can be blinding. Go above and beyond by packing some shades for your family, too, especially on long car trips.

Are you taking a road trip for Spring Break? Try wearing a hat with a brim along with your glasses. This can shade your eyes and keep harmful rays from hitting your vision. That way you can arrive at your vacation safely and in style.

 

Need help finding a pair of polarized or unpolarized sunglasses that fit your look? Our team is ready to help. Schedule an appointment with us, and we’ll take care of you and your eyes.

A blue graphic that reads "Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of permanent vision loss in people over sixty."

What You Need to Know About Age-Related Macular Degeneration

It’s February! You know what that means. The groundhog saw his shadow, love is in the air, and it’s time to talk about age-related macular degeneration (AMR).

If that last one tripped you up a little, you’re not alone. It turns out that February is Age-Related Macular Degeneration Month! Who knew? A lot of people haven’t heard of the condition, and even fewer people know what it is. So in honor of the season, we decided to give you a rundown of all the things you need to know.

How It Happens

Although you might not have heard of it, age-related macular degeneration is actually the leading cause of permanent vision loss in people over sixty.

This condition happens when the center of your retina (which in case you didn’t know, is the thin layer of tissue that covers the inside layer of the back of your eye) wears down over time. The retina is the part of your eye that senses lights, and the center of your retina, also known as the macula, is the most sensitive part of the whole thing.

Age-related macular degeneration is when the macula breaks down over time, which means it normally affects people in the second half of their lives.

What to Watch For

It’s common for vision to change as you age. That’s why it’s important to get regular comprehensive eye exams. They can help find important warning signs of a whole bunch of vision conditions before it’s too late.

It’s important to visit your eye doctor regularly, but you may want to make another appointment soon if you’re experiencing:

  • Blurry or dark areas in the center of your vision
  • White areas in the center of your vision
  • A change in how you see color

Keep in mind that people with age-related macular degeneration might not experience any symptoms until the condition has progressed. That’s why it’s important to have your eye doctor test for the condition if you’re over the age of sixty.

We want to make sure you have clear, healthy vision for as long as possible. Make sure to schedule an eye exam with us so we can make sure you have great eye care from a team you can trust. We can’t wait to see you soon!

An image of a phone against a black table.

Is Dark Mode Better for Your Eyes?

If you have a smart phone, laptop, tablet or other electronic device, you have probably been forced to make the decision between the dark and light mode screen setting. Even if you haven’t shifted your phone’s theme, individual social media apps are offering dark mode settings nowadays, too.

Well, as you know, we are all about eye health here at Rx Optical. That’s why we wanted to talk about the new dark mode option and answer the big question: does dark mode actually help your eyes?

Readability

Let’s talk about reading on screens. Black text on a white background is best, since the color properties and light are best suited for the human eye. That’s because white reflects every wavelength in the color spectrum.

The reason it’s easy to see white isn’t unlike why we recommend wearing sunglasses when there’s snow on the ground. Because of the reflection, our irises don’t need to open as wide to absorb the white light. That leaves our irises in a neutral position and allows us to see with better clarity. This is especially true when white light is contrasted against black, which absorbs wavelengths instead of reflecting them.

White text on a black background, or “dark mode,” makes the eye work harder and open wider, since it needs to absorb more light. When this happens, the white letters can bleed into the black background and cause the text to blur, which is also known as the “halation” effect.

What’s the moral of the story? For our e-readers out there, we recommend sticking with “light mode,” or dark text on a light background.

Eye Strain

The jury is still out on whether or not dark mode is better for reducing eye strain, but we can confirm a few things:

  • Dark mode can reduce eye strain in low-light conditions.
  • 100% contrast (white on a black background) can be harder to read and cause more eye strain.
  • It can be harder to read long chunks of text with a light-on-dark theme.

In essence, we recommend using a dark theme when you’re in low light or when you don’t plan to read for long periods of time.

If you do a fair amount of reading, stick to light mode. Even though black text is easier to read, it might be a good idea to try a gray background and control your screen’s brightness. Test out a dark theme at night and a light theme during the day or just experiment.

So What’s the Verdict?

You might have clicked on this blog hoping for a straight answer about whether or not dark themes are good for your eyes. Unfortunately, like we just described, it’s not so black and white. In fact, depending on how you use your device, each mode has its own advantages.

No matter what mode your device is set to, we recommend BluTech Lenses, which help to prevent excess exposure to blue light emitted off of tech devices. Despite whatever mode your devices are in, your eyes will be protected.

Also, come see us. The best way to keep your eyes safe and healthy is to get them checked regularly.

Rx Optical Blog Image BluTech Lenses 01.13.20

Combating Blue Light with BluTech Lenses

Think back on your week. Better yet, look at your past month or even the past year. How much time have you spent staring at a screen? We aren’t here to alarm you, but we are here to tell you that all that digital exposure can be damaging your eyes and affect your vision.

Digital screens emit blue light, and that can have a negative impact on your vision. Luckily, there’s a simple solution to your blue light blues: BluTech Lenses. It’s time to break down what blue light is, how it can affect your eyes, and how these lenses help.

Blue Light Basics

Have you ever been staring at a screen for a while, only to find that you have a headache? It’s easy to bring on a headache from eye strain while using screens that emit blue light.

Blue light is one of the shortest wavelengths of visible light, and it also has some of the highest energy. When you stare at a digital screen, it produces massive amounts of blue light so you can see the images that it projects. That’s all good, except it can really take a toll on your vision, since our eyes can’t block out blue light well.

The other problem with blue light is that it can keep you awake. If you’re stuck staring at a smartphone late into the night, you might have a harder time falling asleep, and we all know lack of sleep can bring on a whole host of other side effects.

Blue Light and Vision

As we mentioned, if you get overexposed to blue light, you might find yourself suffering from sleep problems, headaches, Computer Vision Syndrome or eye strain. It’s time to take a break from your screen if you have dry eyes, blurred vision, a headache, or any other sort of vision change. Schedule a visit with us, too, so we can make sure there isn’t any other underlying cause.

We know that you can’t function in today’s society without spending at least some time on a digital screen. Don’t worry. We have a solution.

BluTech Lenses and You

BluTech Lenses are designed to filter out the blue light that your eye can’t block on its own. They cut back on exposure so you can protect your eyes, all while typing away at your desk or browsing on your phone. Plus, since they filter out that light, they can help you sleep better and feel ready to take on your day.

Many people don’t realize that they need protective eyewear while working. Our team is happy to offer BluTech Lenses that can match your lifestyle and help reduce your symptoms, so you can get back to enjoying your day.

Are you ready to stop suffering from blue light? Want to learn more about BluTech Lenses? Schedule an appointment with us today. We can’t wait to see you.

Rx Optical Blog Image Eyewear Predictions 01.02.20

2020 Vision: Eyewear Trends in the New Year

Drum roll, please!

The ball has dropped, the calendar has flipped, and the confetti has been thrown! A new year means we once again get to identify this year’s upcoming trends. And we don’t just mean any trends‒we’re talking about eyewear trends!

So, sit down and buckle in, because we are talking all things trendy for 2020 (and 20/20) vision! From color to style, we’ve got you covered for making this year’s you the most stylish one yet.

90s

Everyone loves a throwback or vintage feel. That’s why this season, we’re inspired by 90s fashion icons. Forget about the cat eye look and head straight for the round frames. We love wire frames with sleek style like these ones from Polo Ralph Lauren (Rx SKU: 8053672797794)!

Trust us. Pair them with a jean jacket and some high-top shoes. You’ll nail the look and have great vision. It’s a win-win!

90s glasses

Clear Frames

Some things never go out of style, and clear frames are definitely on that list.

This frame from Oliver Peoples (Rx SKU: 827934414617) is the perfect pair of glasses because it goes with absolutely everything! No matter the outfit, your glasses will add a great finishing touch. The other wonderful feature of clear frames is that you can find them in almost every shape. If you have your eye on a certain style, grab them in clear and you’re good to go!

Clear Frames

Tortoise

Let’s talk patterns!

This year, we are loving the tortoise pattern, especially in the traditional brown speckled style. Just like the clear frames, this pattern is widely popular and comes in almost every shape of frame. So, reference the best frames for your face shape, and then find a pair in tortoise! It’s as simple as that!

If you are feeling fun and wild, try these fun green tortoise frames from ­­­Longchamp (Rx SKU: 886895327060).

Tortoise Frames

Chunky Frames

2020 is the year for being big and bold! Show off that confidence with a pair of chunky frames, like these frames from Coach (Rx SKU: 725125995788).

The oversized frames are a perfect statement look that will set you and your eyes in motion for a fabulous year.

Chunky Frames

Sunglasses

If you are a frequent reader, you know we are all about eye health and encourage you to wear sunglasses all year long! So, this year, we want you to start off strong by wearing sunglasses, even in the winter.

Sunglasses

Try stopping in for distinctive frames and effective lenses. Just take a look at these frames from Ray-Ban (Rx SKU: 805289742470). Don’t they just make you want to slip on some shades?

We think the best way to start a new year is to ensure your eyes are happy and healthy. Schedule an appointment with us! Once we assess your eyes, we’ll help you find the perfect pair of glasses to set you up for a great 2020.

Rx Optical Blog Image Cosmetic Contacts 10.15.19

Cosmetic Contact Lenses and Your Eyes

Novelty cosmetic contact lenses seem to be all the rage around Halloween. Our team wants to make sure you have a safe holiday, no matter what you’re dressing as.

While these contact lenses might seem like a fun accessory for your costume, they can also hurt your vision.

In the spirit of a safe and fun Halloween, check out this quick FAQ about novelty cosmetic contact lenses, and learn how you can keep your vision safe this year.

Why do you need a prescription?

Did you know that in the United States, you have to have a prescription to order contact lenses? It’s illegal for a company to sell contacts to you unless you show them proof that you have a prescription from an eye doctor. That’s because the federal government classifies all contact lenses as medical devices, not just as accessories.

That means they have to be distributed by a licensed professional. So even if you just plan to use cosmetic or colored contacts for one night, you need a prescription from an eye care professional to purchase them.

This regulation ensures that there is oversight on novelty lenses. Without it, you’d be able to pick up lenses from anywhere, and that’s not safe at all.

What if you have 20-20 vision?

The prescription requirement might seem silly if you aren’t intending to purchase contacts for improved vision, but it’s more important than you think. That’s because there’s more to contacts than just clear vision. You have to think of safety.

Illegally sold lenses lack regulation, meaning they may not meet FDA standards. Those standards include a lack of sterilization or incorrect packaging, which can lead to huge problems for your vision. Non-prescription cosmetic lenses could even cut, scratch or infect your eye, which could result in permanent eye damage.

If you try to purchase contact lenses and you aren’t asked for proof of prescription, turn back! We know that the contacts might look cool, but the risks aren’t worth it at all!

Even if you do everything right, your eyes might still be irritated by the foreign object. In that case, remove the contacts immediately, call your eye doctor, and try some of these tricks for irritated and red eyes while you wait.

What about the fit?

If you get contacts that are made to fit your prescription, you are in good hands. When contacts are made to fit your prescription, that includes more than just the right power. Your contacts also fit the size and shape of your eye and are even made out of a material that suits you best.

Think of contact lenses like a pair of shoes. If they are too big or too small, the shoes cut into your heels and leave your feet irritated and uncomfortable. Contact lenses are similar, so they have to be the right fit for your eye.

Bonus tip: If you purchase cosmetic contact lenses with a prescription for a costume, be sure to still follow the standard rules of contact lens safety. Wash your hands before you apply your lenses and be sure to take them out before you go to bed. While you’re at it, remove all of your costume makeup before you hit the hay, too. Your eyes will thank you in the morning!

If you want colored or cosmetic contacts, visit an eye care professional like us for a prescription and an eye exam. Cosmetic contacts can be a fun way to add additional flare to your costume, as long as you acquire and wear them safely.

Rx Optical Blog Image We Care 10.02.19

We Care, and Here’s How We Show It

If you’ve ever visited one of our offices, you’ll see we do things a differently. Our team is overly enthusiastic and passionate about providing awesome experiences from the minute you walk in the door to exam to ordering to pick-up.

Our focus is on the experience, we build relationships with our patients and the communities we reside in. You are the reason we are here, and we couldn’t be more thankful for you.

We Work with You

Your eye health is just that—your eye health. We want you to know exactly what’s going on with your eyes, and we communicate through each step of your visit.

There is no substitute for an in-person eye exam, when we know how you spend your time, where you work and how you play, we can ensure nothing is missed and your eyes are protected. What’s even better? We’ll talk to you about it in a way that you understand—none of that doctor speak nonsense.

Regular eye exams are important to establish your prescription—and we’ll help you do that—but they’re also super important preventative measures. When you stop in, we’ll look at your overall eye health, which can go a long way towards catching conditions like glaucoma early on. Remember: early detection can help prevent or minimize complications like blindness.

We Find the Perfect Fit

Did you know that a good pair of glasses requires more than just the right prescription? Crazy, isn’t it? The frame material, shape, size, and lens material can all make a huge impact on whether or not your glasses work how you need them to.

For example, if you’re always hitting the gym, you need glasses that can keep up with you on the treadmill and won’t slide off your face throughout your workout. If you spend a lot of time running back and forth from inside to outside, you need glasses that provide UV protection.

Frame shape and size, along with lens material, play a big role in the thickness and weight of your lenses. That’s why our opticians are trained to design the best pair of glasses to specifically fit your prescription and lifestyle.

We want you to love how your glasses look on you, but we also want you to fall in love with how they fit into your day-to-day life. It’s just another way we show how much we care.

We’re There for You

The right eyewear can make a huge impact on your life. That’s why we’re here whenever disaster strikes, because accidents always happen.

Did you smash your glasses? Our Worry-Free Warranty has you covered. Want more good news? If you lose your lenses, we can help with that, too. Why? Because we care.

Everyone has different needs, which is why we offer a bunch of different eyewear options, from polarized prescription sunglasses to contacts and everything in between. If you need something, all you have to do is ask. We’re happy to help!

We’re Part of the Community

At the end of the day, we come to work every day because we love helping the people in our community.

We’ve been shopping local and giving back since long before your favorite farm-to-table restaurant existed. That’s because we love Michigan and the people who live here. How can you tell? You can see us all over the place, sponsoring local teams, running in marathons, and giving back in other ways.

Our team is made up of people just like you, which means we want to get to know everyone who sets foot in one of our offices. We want to build a relationship with you, not just treat you like another number. It’s what you deserve.
Ready for a whole new eye care experience? Schedule an appointment today. We’d love to get to know you.

A bright yellow background with blue text on top.

How to Soothe and Avoid Bloodshot Eyes

Red may be a primary color, but it shouldn’t be the primary color of your eyes.

Most people have probably experienced the discomfort that is a bloodshot or red eye, either from campfire smoke, a chlorinated pool, or just from the dirt and debris that floats in the air. As you know, this comes with pain, but also the unattractive appearance and the not so subtle red eye. Moral of the story: if you have ever experienced it, you know. It stinks.

The first thing we ask people when they tell us their eyes are red is, “did you remember to take your contacts out before you went to bed last night?” So, before you read any further, start there.

If you’re still with us, that means one of two things. One, you really love learning about blood shot eyes, or two, you have one and it most likely isn’t from your old contacts. Don’t worry. We will try and provide you with some helpful advice.

How to Avoid Red Eyes

While our list of items to avoid might not guarantee your eyes will be pain free, it’s a good place to start.

  • Avoid smoke – if you have easily irritated eyes, it’s best to stay away from smoke. Smoke can cause eyes to itch because of the toxins in the dirty air.
  • Wash your hands regularly – If you have to touch your eyes, always, always, always be sure they are clean before you do so. Your hands carry lots of germs that can cause irritation to the eye if they come in contact with one another.
  • Wash your pillowcase, towels, and clothes regularly – Keeping items that go near your eyes clean will help decrease the number of unwanted germs and bacteria that find their way to your eyes.
  • Makeup: If you have sensitive eyes, the makeup you’re using may be the root of your problem. Either lay off the heavy eye makeup or switch to a different brand. It might be worth investing in hypoallergenic products.
  • Wear glasses: One common cause of red and irritated eyes is dust that gets trapped in the eye. To help cut back on this discomfort, wear glasses in dusty situations. For example, if you are mowing the lawn, try a pair of polarized sunglasses or prescription safety glasses to help decrease the amount of dirt that comes in contact with your eyes. We can help you find the perfect pair. Ask us about our Home Safety solution program the next time you stop in!

At Home Suggestions

If your eyes are red and irritated, you can try a few tricks at home to keep the irritation to a minimum. Try gently pressing a warm, damp, clean cloth over your eyelid. Only hold it there for a few minutes before removing it. This can help reduce the swelling around your eye.

If you frequently get red or irritated eyes, ask your eye doctor about artificial tears. These can help wash out debris and sooth the burning, itchy sensation. Keep these on hand, so the next time you have irritated eyes, you’ll be ready to go.

Come See Us

While we may have given you some suggestions to avoid and lessen your symptoms, be sure to come see us if your eyes are irritated. Red and irritated eyes can be a sign of other underlying issues, which our team can check for. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

We want to ensure your eyes stay healthy and are given the help they need. Schedule an appointment with us today to learn more about protecting your eyes.

A woman runs while listening to an iPhone. White text in front of her reads, "You have to be proactive in order to keep seeing the world clearly throughout your life."

Exercise and Eyesight

Contrary to the popular saying, your eyes are actually the window to your body’s health. A comprehensive eye exam can give a snapshot of your overall general health and wellbeing. What happens to your body also affects your eyes. That’s why changing your diet and exercise regimens can have a positive impact on your vision, as well as on the rest of your body.

Great vision doesn’t occur by itself. You have to be proactive in order to keep seeing the world clearly throughout your life. Our expert team of doctors has exercise tips that will help to kickstart a healthier you – vision and all.

Make Exercise a Priority

Although it can be difficult, making exercise a priority is essential to preserving your vision. Regular exercise has been found to reduce the risk for several eye diseases, including cataracts and glaucoma, two diseases often related to aging eyes.

Exercise Tips

The best kind of exercise to help improve your vision is cardio. Our doctors recommend at least 30 minutes of cardio every day. Make sure to switch up your exercise regularly so you don’t get bored of the same old things.

Cardio exercises like running, aerobics, or cycling help to increase blood flow to all areas of your body, including your retina. Since many vision and eye problems stem from high blood pressure or cholesterol, getting regular cardio in can help keep blood pressure levels where they need to be.

Diet and Exercise

Of course, exercise coupled with a healthy diet is the best way to feel better and see clearly. Try to shop for food that’s rich with Vitamin C, zinc, and omega-3. To learn more about what to add to your shopping list, check out parts one and two of our blogs about good foods for eye health. While you’re at it, make sure you avoid these 5 foods.

Get Involved

One of the best ways to motivate yourself to get active is to involve yourself in an event. Sign up for a marathon or a competition to really get yourself moving. While you’re hitting the pavement, you might even bump into our team. We’ll be running in, and sponsoring, several different upcoming events, including the Girls on the Run 5k, the Amway River Bank Run, and the Kalamazoo Marathon. Sign up to get yourself moving or stop by to cheer on the runners!

Not sure where to start when it comes to exercise and eye health? Schedule a comprehensive eye exam so that our doctors can evaluate your vision and your vision needs. Our team is here to help you stay healthy and ensure your vision is clear.

 

The hallway of a museum features blue text that reads, "Michigan has a wide variety of great museums that cover topics like art, natural history, and even the history of Great Lakes shipwrecks!"

4 Must-See Museums in Michigan

When we aren’t picking out the perfect frames for our patients or performing expert eye exams, we are exploring our great state. Michigan has a wide variety of great museums that cover topics like art, natural history, and even the history of Great Lakes shipwrecks!

We’ve rounded up our favorite museums to share with you. Check out our favorite places to visit, including one museum that just opened recently.

University of Michigan Natural History Museum

This museum is brand new and is truly out of this world. Head over to Ann Arbor and enjoy the exhibits that range from a trail of Mastodons to flying reptiles. If you want to get out of this world for a night and view the stars in the sky, check out their planetarium dome and theater.

The museum is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with late night admittance on Thursdays. What’s even better is that the museum is free, and the planetarium is only $8 per person.

Detroit Institute of the Arts

Did you know that the Detroit Institute of the Arts (DIA) is considered to have one of the best art collections in the United States? There is so much culture in the city of Detroit and the DIA captures the culture of the city very well. From mummies and modern art to European art and African masks, the DIA has it all. One of our favorite showcases at the DIA is the General Motors Center for African American Art which contains over 400 pieces by African American Artists.

The DIA is open Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on the weekend from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission fees range from free to $14.

Grand Rapids Public Museum

Ready for three floors of fun and discovery? The Grand Rapids Public Museum features core and traveling exhibits that focus on science, history, and culture. The museum is in the heart of the downtown Grand Rapids area, so after you visit the museum, you are just a few steps away from great dining and more adventure.

The Grand Rapids Public Museum is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on the weekend from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission fees range from $2 to $12.

Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum

If you are planning a trip up north, definitely make a stop at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in Paradise (yes, Paradise) Michigan. Learn about the history of ships on the Great Lakes and about current underwater research. There are many interesting artifacts in the museum from shipwrecks and also from ships who sailed the Great Lakes unscathed.

The museum is open daily in May through October from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There are family pricing packages and single person admission fees that range from free to $13.

Our team of optometrists and doctors want you to be able to learn about our great state with clear vision. Stop in for an eye exam before you explore these great Michigan museums.

 

A pair of glasses sits on top of a laptop while text next to them reads, "It is helpful to follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds."

How to Avoid Eye Strain While Reading

Eye strain is a common condition that can occur when your eyes become tired from heightened use. This is usually caused by driving, reading, or the continual use of digital screens. Although eye strain can be very uncomfortable and annoying, it is generally not a serious condition and often goes away once you take a break to rest your eyes.

However, there are measures you can take to avoid eye strain altogether. Our expert team has put together a few suggestions on how to prevent straining your vision in your day-to-day routine.

Symptoms

You are most likely suffering from eyestrain if your eyes are sore, itchy or burning, especially if your eyes are also notably watery or dry. Vision often becomes blurred or doubled because of eye strain. Your eyes may become sensitive to light, you will typically have trouble concentrating, and you won’t be able to keep your eyes open. Headaches, back pain and neck pain are other common symptoms.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, schedule a visit with your optometrist so that they can properly diagnose you.

Reducing Strain at Home or Work

There are simple remedies to help alleviate eye strain, no matter where you are. Began by reducing the light in your room. To do this, try positioning your light source behind you or try using a shaded light. The shade will keep the light from shining directly in your eyes, which will help decrease symptoms.

Digital Screens

If you use a digital screen often, whether it be for reading or typing away in spreadsheets for work, there are ways to keep eye strain at a minimum.

Blink often to refresh your eyes and prevent them from drying out and take a break from your work every 20 minutes. In fact, we find it helpful to follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.

It might also help if you adjust your laptop to be at least an arm’s length away. Position the top of the screen so it is at or just below your eye level. You can also adjust your screen settings to enlarge the font in order to make reading from that distance easier.

The digital world can cause more than eye strain. Learn all about how devices are impacting your sight on our recent blog.

Eye Exam

The best thing you can do for your vision is schedule an eye exam. Before your exam, start keeping a log of the time you spend on activities that strain your eyes and note what symptoms you have been experiencing. Your doctor will be able to diagnose and provide treatment to alleviate your eye strain.

Our team of optometrists knows how annoying eye strain can be when you are just trying to enjoy your favorite book, newspaper, or TV show. Follow our tips for improving your symptoms, and stop in for an eye exam so that we can help you further.

 

A closeup of a blue eye has text over it that reads, "If you have a lighter eye color, your eyes are more sensitive to light because you have less pigment and melanin in your irises to protect your eyes from the sun."

How Eye Color Impacts Your Vision

Your eye color is unique to you. In fact, no two people have the exact same color of eyes. Because of this, eye color is one of the most distinguishing characteristics for people and is often a big part of identity. We’ve already written about the science behind how you get your eye color, but does that color also affect your vision?

Our expert doctors have shared how your eye color affects your vision:

The Science of Eye Color

In order to understand how eye color affects your vision, it will be helpful to understand how eye color develops. The iris is the colored part of the eye, and the amount of pigmentation within the iris determines your eye color. There are three genes that are responsible for determining the pigmentation. These genes are tied to your melanin levels.

Less melanin in the iris means lighter eye colors, like blue and green, and more melanin makes for darker eye colors, like hazel and brown. Check out our eye color science blog to learn more about determining eye color.

Light vs. Dark

Whether you have light or dark colored eyes, your eye color does actually have an impact on your vision.

If you have a lighter eye color, your eyes are more sensitive to light because you have less pigment and melanin in your irises to protect your eyes from the sun. This means that you could have a greater risk of macular degeneration, and that you might find yourself squinting more when you go outside during the day.

If you have a darker eye color, your eyes can often withstand high glare lights better than light colored eyes can. This is thanks to the greater amount of pigment and melanin in your iris. You could potentially be better at driving at night because your eyes allow for less light to reflect and cause glare. Despite your high light tolerance, though, you should still be wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV rays.

Sports Performance

There are a few studies that have looked at the impact of eye color on sports performance. The University of Louisville found that people with dark eye colors perform better at reactive tasks like hitting balls and playing defense, while people with light eye colors do better at self-paced tasks like hitting a golf ball, throwing a pitch, or bowling. However, there are not enough studies yet to fully support this theory. For now, it’s just a fun discussion to have with your teammates.

Speaking of teammates, our expert team is here to ensure that you are able to see clearly, regardless of your eye color. An annual eye exam will help you take care of your eyes, whether they are dark or light-colored. Stop in to one of our 54 locations or call us to set up your appointment today!

A swimmer with goggles surfaces from the water while text reads, "Swimming with contacts in should always be avoided to prevent bacteria from contaminating your eyes."

Contacts vs. The Ocean: Your Eyes and Spring Break

Spring only seems to exist for two weeks in the Midwest, thanks to never-ending snow, and that’s why us Michiganders love spring break more than anyone else! This week of bliss allows us to take a break from miserably cold weather and relax under the sun, with our feet in the sand. If you’re planning a trip down south to the ocean, we are sure you are packing essentials like sunscreen and sunglasses.

Are you also packing your contacts? The ocean and your contacts can be a dangerous mix at times, and we want to help you protect your vision and enjoy your vacation! Our expert team has compiled all the information you need to know in order to keep your eyes and contacts safe this spring break.

Swimming and Contacts

Swimming with contacts in should always be avoided to prevent bacteria from contaminating your eyes. According to the FDA, contacts should not be exposed to any kind of water, including tap water, pool water, and ocean water.

Water is home to many viruses, including the dangerous Acanthamoeba organism, which attaches to contact lenses and can cause the cornea to become infected and inflamed. This can cause permanent vision loss or require a corneal transplant to recover lost vision.

Other eye infections can occur when swimming with contacts, like a corneal ulcer. Corneal ulcers occur when a bacterial infection invades the cornea, and contact lens wearers are the most susceptible to eye irritation, as the lens may rub up against the eye’s surface.

But I Will Wear Goggles!

If you choose to wear contacts while swimming, you can reduce the risk of bacterial infection and irritation by wearing waterproof swim goggles. Swim goggles will help to keep your contact from leaving your eye when swimming.

However, the best way to prevent your eyes from becoming infected while swimming is by taking out your contacts before jumping into the water and putting on a pair of prescription goggles.

Contact Care After Ocean Water

So, you decided to wear your contacts while swimming. Our expert opticians recommend discarding the lenses immediately after swimming, rinsing your eyes with artificial tears, and replacing your contacts with a fresh pair.

If you experience eye irritation or sensitivity to light after wearing your contacts in the water, you need to call your eye doctor immediately.

Do you have more questions about swimming and contacts, or need tips on what eye care essentials to pack for your spring break trip? We would be happy to help you out! Visit one of our 54 locations or give us a call.

Have a safe and fun spring break!

 

 

An eye stares at the camera while font over it reads, "Your diet impacts all parts of your health, including your vision."

Best Foods For Eye Health: Part 2

Your diet impacts all parts of your health, including your vision. In the top five foods for eye health, we shared the importance of a diet that consists of food high in omega-3 acids and how they benefit your vision.

Now we want to share five more foods we love that will support your eye health and vision – and make a tasty meal! Add these items to your shopping list and incorporate them into your diet:

Nuts and Seeds

While nuts and seeds both are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, they also contain high amounts of vitamin E. Vitamin E great at protecting against age-related eye damage.

Nuts and seeds also make for great on-the-go snacks, stash some in your desk drawer or your purse!

Carrots

Do you know why carrots are orange? It’s because they are full of beta carotene! Beta carotene is a nutrient that helps the body make vitamin A, which in turn boosts your vision in multiple ways.

Vitamin A plays an essential role in your vision health, vitamin A has a protein called rhodopsin. Rhodopsin helps your retina to absorb light.

Sweet Potatoes

Like carrots, sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene and vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant which means it can help to lower the risk of infections throughout your body and protect your eyes from eye disease, most commonly, age-related macular degeneration.

Sweet potatoes are a great side for your main dish, just make sure you don’t dose it in brown sugar and butter!

Beef

Zinc has been linked to better long-term eye health, including age-related sight loss and macular degeneration. Beef is a meat that contains a high level of zinc, even more than chicken breast and pork.

Zinc will benefit your eye health and vision through strengthening your retina and the tissue around your retina.

Water

While it’s not a food, water should be a part of your everyday routine. Maintaining a healthy balance of fluid in the eye is vital to protecting your eyes. Your eyes are surrounded by fluid that washes away debris and dust every time you blink. When you are not well hydrated your eyes become dehydrated as well.

Remember, including Vitamin E, zinc, and omega-3 rich foods into your diet will help protect your eyes and allow you to have clearer vision, longer.

 

Interested in learning more about the foods you should add to your diet in order to boost your eye health? Schedule an exam with one of our doctors to discuss the steps you can take in order to achieve healthier eyes.

 

 

Dr.Mike Murphy talks on the news while font over him reads, "In the past year, the media has turned to our expert team of doctors and opticians to share our knowledge, resources, and tips with viewers and readers across the state of Michigan."

Rx Optical in the News

At Rx Optical, we understand the importance of educating both our current patient base and the general public on best practices surrounding eye care and your overall health. In the past year, the media has turned to our expert team of doctors and opticians to share our knowledge, resources, and tips with viewers and readers across the state of Michigan.

In addition to being experts in all things related to eye care and eye health, our team is also well versed in the latest eye wear tips and trends. Check out a few of our favorite media highlights, featuring our wonderful team members, from 2018:

A Guide to Glasses

Rose Denney, Optician and Office Manager at the Grandville Rx Optical location, sat down with West Michigan Woman in April 2018 to share insight into how she helps patients pick out the perfect frames that fit their face shape and overall style. Rose’s training and education make her an expert in both eye care and personal eye wear styling. Check out the full piece here.

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National Sunglasses Day

National Sunglasses Day, celebrated annually on June 27, is, unsurprisingly, one of our favorite days of the season. Anthony McConer, Office Manager at Rx Optical Breton Village, stopped by the FOX 17 studios to chat about why it is vital that you wear sunglasses with proper UV protection. He also covered different style trends and discussed how to pick the right frame size and shape.

Check out Anthony’s interview here. We can’t wait for National Sunglasses Day this year!

Rx Optical discusses the importance of sunglasses.

Back-to-School Tips

Getting ready to send your kids back to school in August can seem like a daunting task. From gathering new school supplies to learning how to fall back into a normal routine, there is a lot to take care of. One very important item that tends to be overlooked: a comprehensive eye exam for children. Dr. Sherah Eavey sat down with WOOD-TV to share a few of the red flags to be aware of when it comes to children’s eye health issues.

Check out the must-see, back-to-school segment here.

Rx Optical's Dr. Sherah Eavey talks about back to school tips for kids and their eyes.

Halloween Horrors

Our doctors always keep an eye out for potential eye health threats based on the season. Dressing up for Halloween in the fall is always a fun tradition, however, the trend of unregulated cosmetic lenses are posing serious threats to users. Dr. Mike Murphy shared the dangers of cosmetic contact lenses with the team at WXYZ-TV in Detroit.

Check out the vision-saving interview here.

Dr. Mike Murphy discusses the dangers of cosmetic contact lenses.

At Rx Optical, we are committed to educating and informing patients and the general public about the latest eye care news, tips or threats. We also love being the go-to experts for eye wear fashion trends. No matter the season, and no matter the topic, our team at Rx Optical has you covered.

Keep your eyes peeled for more of our doctors and opticians being featured in the media in 2019. Want to meet our talented team of media stars? Find a location near you or schedule your appointment online today.

A person holds a basket of vegetables while copy over them reads, "Our eyes are vascular, meaning that it is important to have a heart-healthy diet to keep the blood vessels that service our eyes healthy."

The Worst Foods for Your Eye Health

You know the saying, “You are what you eat”? The food you eat plays a huge part in your health.

Our eyes are vascular, meaning that it is important to have a heart-healthy diet to keep the blood vessels that service our eyes healthy. Tiny capillaries provide your retina with nutrients and oxygen; because these vessels are so small, fatty deposits can easily cause blocked veins.

We’ve shared with you the foods that will boost your eye health. Now, our expert team of doctors have compiled a list of the foods that are harmful to the health of your eyes.

Condiments, Toppings, and Dressings

The toppings that you likely store in your refrigerator door like mayonnaise, salad dressing, or jelly, are all high in fat.

Rather than using these options for flavor on your next sandwich, burger, or salad, try using natural flavors like green vegetables or toppings that are packed with vitamin C, like a squeeze of fresh lemon. Get great flavor with natural foods without sacrificing your nutritional benefits!

White or Plain Colored Foods

Think about the white foods that you eat: pasta, white bread, rice, and flour tortillas. These foods offer almost no nutritional benefit, just simple carbohydrates that give a rush of energy that are followed by a crash.

If you are eating these foods, be sure to add greens and foods that rich with omega-3 to the meal to provide yourself with nutritional benefits. Or, swap them for healthier alternatives that use whole grains.

Fatty Meats

Red meats and sausages are often convenient to purchase, especially when you are buying from the deli. Lunch meats can seem healthy but are mostly full of chemical preservatives, salt, fat, and cholesterol.

Instead of consuming fatty meats, try adding in lean meats like fresh turkey, which is full of zinc and protein. Salmon is good alternative as well, as it is an omega-3 rich food.

Margarine

Margarine is often marketed as a healthy alternative to butter, but is full of trans fats that can adversely affect your cholesterol.

Instead, try using coconut, avocado, or olive oil as an alternative to both margarine and butter to avoid trans fats.

Saturated Fats

Junk foods are delicious but can cause serious issues down the line for your health if you consume too many. Rather than eating French fries, cookies, or potato chips, which are all full of saturated fats, swap them out for healthier unsaturated fats.

Lean meats, fish, fresh fruits and veggies, and low-fat or non-dairy products are the best way to receive healthy fats.

We want to help you eat healthy so that your vision remains clear and focused. Do you have questions about how to eat healthy for your eyes? We would love to see you! Schedule your appointment today.

A blue eye looks forward while text reads, "Eyes are unique to every individual person, almost like a fingerprint."

The Science Behind Eye Color

Eyes are unique to every individual person, almost like a fingerprint. But, have you ever found yourself wondering, for example, why your eyes are brown and your sister’s eyes are blue? Shouldn’t you have the same eye color if you are related? The science behind eye color is a little more complicated than what you may have learned in your high school biology class.

Basic Biology Breakdown

In high school biology you probably covered genetics and dominant and recessive genes. In order to fully understand this, you likely did an activity where you traced your eye color back to your parent’s. However, understanding how dominant and recessive genes play into eye color is just scraping the surface of the science behind your eyes.

Melanin and Genetics

Different eye color is caused by the melanin in your iris. The iris is a flat, colored, ring shape behind the cornea of the eye. Less melanin in the iris means lighter eye colors, like blue and green, and more melanin in the iris makes for darker eye colors, like hazel and brown. Melanin isn’t the only factor in determining eye color.

Like you learned in high school, genes do play a role, but it isn’t just the one gene you were taught. The gene OCA2 determines how much melanin you will have in the iris, because it produces protein. Less protein means blue or green eyes. The gene HERC2 limits the OCA2 gene. So, the more that HERC2 limits the OCA2 gene, means less melanin in the iris.

Melanocyte Activity

Melanocyte is the mature, melanin-forming cell. The activity level of melanocyte in babies can contribute to a change in eye color up until their 1st birthday. If melanocytes secrete only a small amount, a baby will have blue eyes. If melanocytes are very active, a baby will have brown eyes.

Did you know that most American Caucasian babies begin their life with blue eyes, but only 1 in 6 adults retain the blue eye color?

Anomalies

Sometimes, eye color is determined by anomalies in melanin and genetics. Heterochromia Iridium is a condition where each eye is a different color. Heterochromia Iridium occurs when there are anomalies in the iris. Only 6 in 1,000 have this condition.

Most people know that David Bowie has 2 different eye colors, so you may think that he has Heterochromia. Bowie’s condition, however, comes from eye damage from a fight as a teen over a girl, which led to a permanently dilated pupil, which is known as anisocoria. Max Scherzer, former Detroit Tigers pitcher, currently with the Washington Nationals, does, however, have Heterochromia.

 

At Rx Optical, we understand your eyes and the intricate science behind them. We would love to see you and learn more about your eye color and your eye health. Schedule your appointment with us online today.

A snowy forest with the text, "Michigan has been our home since 1947 and we are deeply proud of our state."

Our Favorite Winter Sights in Michigan

Michigan has been our home since 1947 and we are deeply proud of our state. While we will admit that Michigan winters can be tough sometimes, we also know they can be stunningly beautiful. There’s just something about the way the snow glistens on the bare tree branches when the light hits just right, and just like that, Michigan turns into a winter wonderland.

When the snow falls, our team has a few favorite places that we like to explore each year, and we want to share them with you. Check out our list of favorite winter sights in Michigan:

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore – Munising

A trip to the Upper Peninsula is always beautiful, no matter the season, but in the winter it is transformed into a breathtaking, frozen tundra. You can ski, hike, and even climb frozen ice waterfalls. The frozen lake is captivating to look at and is truly embodies “Pure Michigan.” Remember, if you’re headed way up north, be sure to pack extra layers!

Sleeping Bear Point and Shalda Creek – Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Don’t want to venture all the way to the Upper Peninsula but still want to feel like you’re “up north”? Check out the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. We love to wander through the snow-covered dunes and enjoy the views from what feels like the top of the world. And, if you are able to make it just after a large gust of wind hits the dunes, the layers of the sand change and create beautiful textures.

While you’re at the Sleeping Dunes National Lakeshore, make sure you make a stop at Shalda Creek. This creek is small and can be hard to miss as it heads into Good Harbor Bay, but it’s beauty is unparalleled. Make sure you wear warm winter hiking boots and snow pants, or waders, as the ice may be thin!

Rosa Parks Circle – Grand Rapids

Would you rather escape to the city? On the west side of Michigan, Grand Rapids’ Rosa Parks Circle is at the center of the city’s hustle and bustle. The city ices over the park and creates an outdoor ice rink for everyone to enjoy. If you go at night, you will be surrounded by decorated trees and the twinkling lights of the city. The Circle is also close to many restaurants, nightlife, and great museums that both kids and parents will enjoy.

Campus Martius Park – Detroit

On the east side of Michigan, Detroit transforms their downtown park into a winter wonderland and ice rink. With fun activities from skating to broomball, there is always something fun happening at Campus Martius. Campus Martius is at the center of amazing restaurant selection, sparkling lights, and entertainment. Your eyes will never tire from taking in all the sights in downtown Detroit.

We love our Michigan roots and can’t get enough of exploring our great state. Do you have a favorite winter spot in Michigan? Be sure to share it with us!

Also, schedule an appointment today so you can be sure you are seeing clearly when you visit these great winter spots. You won’t want to miss a single detail!

A green ribbon with the words, "Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States and it affects more than 2.7 million Americans every year."

4 Symptoms & Signs of Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases; the two main types are primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) and angle-closure glaucoma. These are caused by an increase in pressure inside the eye, which leads to optic nerve damage. The optic nerve is responsible for carrying images from the eye to the brain, and if it is damaged, vision will be impaired or permanently lost.

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States and it affects more than 2.7 million Americans every year. Glaucoma is known as the “silent thief of vision” because there are virtually no early warning signs to indicate glaucoma. The best way to detect glaucoma early on is through a comprehensive eye exam.

While there are no early warning signs, there are several symptoms, for the two main types of glaucoma, to be aware of:

Primary Open Angle Glaucoma (POAG) Symptoms

Blind Spots

Frequent patchy blind spots in your peripheral, or main line of sight, in both of your eyes can be an indication of glaucoma.

Tunnel Vision

In advance stages of POAG, tunnel vision will occur. Tunnel vision is when objects being viewed cannot be properly seen if they are not close to the center of the field of view.

Angle-Closure Glaucoma Symptoms

Halos

Halos around lights are an indicator of glaucoma. Halos are bright circles that surround a light source when you are viewing it, and that will ultimately interfere with your overall vision.

Eye Pain

Glaucoma can cause eye pain to occur on the surface of the eye or within a deeper structure of the eye. Eye pain should not be taken lightly, and if it persists, you should seek immediate medical attention.

Along with the above symptoms, severe headaches and blurred vision are also possible indicators of glaucoma. If you experience any these symptoms it is extremely important to visit an eye doctor as soon as possible. For those over 40 who are not yet experiencing any of these symptoms, it is still important to have annual comprehensive eye exams in order to detect eye diseases in their early stages and protect your vision.

 

At Rx Optical, we have a deep understanding of the key indicators and risk factors associated with glaucoma and other vision-stealing eye diseases. Our expert team of doctors are here to help you protect your vision and are committed to helping you see clearer, longer. Stop in, give us a call, or schedule your appointment online.

An instrument used to test eye sight with the phrase, "At Rx Optical, we are dedicated to helping you see clearly. Don't ignore the signs!" superimposed over it

5 Signs You Need to Get Your Eyes Checked

Are you straining to see at night or when working on a computer or your phone? Does your head hurt after being in front of a screen or reading fine print?

These issues are not something you should live with; in fact, they are all signs of vision problem. Scheduling a comprehensive eye exam might not be at the top of your to-do list, but it should be, especially if you are experiencing vision issues and/or optical discomfort.

These 5 signs are the most common indicators that your eyes need to be checked through a comprehensive eye exam.

Night Sight

Are you noticing you can see fine in normal lighting but as soon as the lighting dims or you are in darkness, you have issues seeing? Do you are having trouble driving at night and reading signs at night? Or, do you are feel uncomfortable driving at night?

These are indications that you should have your eyes checked. With these symptoms, you could be experiencing night blindness. Night blindness is very common especially in older adults and is the first symptom of a cataract.

It’s All a Blur

If you are experiencing sudden blurry or unfocused vision, it could be a sign of a bigger health issue. If you start to notice that text in books is becoming fuzzy when read up close it could be an indicator of farsightedness or astigmatism. In aging patients, this can also be a sign of presbyopia.

Screen-time Strain

Computer and phone screens can cause serious strain on the eyes and can create computer vision syndrome (CVS). Common symptoms of CVS are eyestrain, headache, difficulty focusing, itchy or burning eyes, dry eyes, blurred or double vision, and light sensitivity.

If believe you are experiencing CVS, you should schedule an eye exam to discuss the strain you are putting on your eyes. In the meantime, follow the 20-20-20 rule, position your screen and documents accordingly, reduce lighting and glare, remember to blink, and use BluTech Lenses. 

Frequent Headaches

Headaches can be common; however, reoccurring headaches can be an early warning of a change in vision. When the cornea and lens fail to focus, the small muscles in the eyes are forced to work harder, which causes eye strain and can result in headaches. Sometimes staring at a computer screen for too long or working in either dim or overly bright light may be the reason why.

If you are struggling with frequent headaches, set up an eye exam as soon as possible. If you work in front of a screen often or in a dimly light room, take breaks every hour to allow your eyes to rest. If this symptom goes untreated, astigmatism, near, or farsightedness could occur.

Flashes, Floaters, Obstructed Vision – Oh My!

If you see floaters or flashes of light in your vision, this could indicate a serious eye disorder like a hole, detachment, or retinal tear.

Small specks that move in your vision field are called floaters; they are deceiving because they often look like they are part of what you are looking at outside of your eye but they are floating inside your eye.

An eye exam evaluates your vision and is extremely thorough. A comprehensive eye exam can closely resemble a physical when you consider what an eye exam can detect. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms it is important to schedule an eye exam as soon as possible to eliminate a serious eye disorder.

At Rx Optical, we are dedicated to helping you see clearly. Don’t ignore the signs! Give us a call, or schedule your appointment online.